What does living by faith look like to you? To James Wells and R.E. Winsett, it meant living a worry-free life. He wasn’t suggesting we walk around with our heads in the clouds, ignoring life. He was telling us to rest in the peace granted to us through the work of Jesus Christ.
James Wells (1872-1947) wrote the first three verses of this hymn. He was a poet, newspaper columnist, and hymnist. I couldn’t find much about his life except he was the son of Chauncey Wells and Susannah Freer, and he authored sixty-four hymns.
Robert Emmett Winsett (1876-1952) wrote the fourth verse. He was a prolific writer and publisher. He published the hymnal Best of All in 1952 and sold 600,000 upon its release. The hymn “Jesus is Coming Soon” became the Song of the Year in 1969. In 2002, Winsett was inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
When I find an author who has written several of my favorite songs, I feel like I’ve found a friend. R.E. Winsett is one of those writers. I have heard the following songs all my life. The words have blessed me countless times.
His Blood is on My Soul
Will You Meet Me Over Yonder?
Lift Me Up Above the Shadows
When My Savior Reached Down for Me
Jesus Is Coming Soon
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you (1 Peter 5:7 KJV)
Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7 KJV).
Like the hymnist, Paul is not suggesting we dismiss genuine concerns. He points us to a way to live worry-free: praying about everything.
Shall keep means to guard. The Philippians were used to seeing Roman soldiers standing guard in Philippi. They would understand Paul’s meaning. God’s peace standing guard at the door of our minds is reassuring!
In the chorus, the writers tell us how to live by faith:
Notice the writer tells his reader the tempests will blow. No ifs about that.
The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men (Psalm 33:13 KJV).
Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy (Psalm 33:18 KJV).
We will face spiritual rivers, fires, and flames through the hardships of life. But we shouldn’t be overcome with care. There’s a better way. Lean into His promises!
When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee (Isaiah 43:2 KJV).
Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee (Psalm 33:20-22 KJV).
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 KJV).
What a glorious thought!